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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Senate Republicans are playing hardball in their efforts to quickly confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. As the Washington Post reports:
Senate Republicans say they plan to forge ahead with a hearing next Monday whether Christine Blasey Ford is there or not, a take-it-or-leave-it gambit to put Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court before the end of the month that risks backfiring politically.
Lawyers for Ford, the California professor who accuses Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, said Tuesday night that their client wants an FBI investigation before she testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The committee’s GOP chairman, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), scheduled Ford’s testimony before confirming that this day worked for her. He did, however, make sure it worked for President Trump’s nominee, who categorically denies any wrongdoing and has been holed up at the White House preparing for his second round in front of the Senate.
“The invitation for Monday still stands,” Grassley said in a statement. “Dr. Ford’s testimony would reflect her personal knowledge and memory of events. Nothing the FBI or any other investigator does would have any bearing on what Dr. Ford tells the committee, so there is no reason for any further delay.”
This is a politically-dangerous approach for Senate Republicans to take with just weeks to go until the midterm elections. Republicans had been pushing for a Kavanaugh vote on Thursday before deciding to push the decision until next week. Grassley’s “Monday or never” approach with Kavanaugh’s accuser is a curious roll of the dice, as Chris Cillizza writes for CNN:
Lost amid the “will she or won’t she” questions is the fact that what Grassley — almost certainly in coordination with the White House — is doing represents an absolutely massive political gamble: Amid the cultural upheaval of the #MeToo moment and with an election looming in less than seven weeks’ time, Republicans are daring a woman alleging sexual assault against a nominee for the country’s highest court to either put up or shut up.
President Trump, meanwhile, says that “it is hard for me to imagine” that sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh are true. We would assume that Trump does not mean that literally. It’s also worth noting that even Trump isn’t responding to these allegations as poorly as Colorado Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert.
► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) was never behind in any public poll while defending his seat…until 2018. Now it’s starting to look more and more like Coffman may not make it to another term. Prognosticators at 538.com have moved CO-6 to a “Likely Democratic” classification.
► Republican Attorney General candidate George Brauchler wants voters to believe that he should be elected in November because he is the more experienced prosecutor compared to Democrat Phil Weiser. Brauchler doesn’t normally mention the fact that he has an absolutely BRUTAL record as the District Attorney in the 18th Judicial District. Brauchler suffered two more high-profile losses this week alone.
Get even more smarter after the jump…